About Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain occurs when ankle ligaments are overextended due to an over-rotation of your ankle. The ligaments incur small tears that add to the soreness--and in some cases, ligaments are completely torn. Ligaments may be overextended and torn from the inversion of the ankle. Sprains are common among athletes who run, jump and pivot often, but ankle sprains may occur in everyday life. Many sprains are avoidable, and knowing how an ankle sprain occurs can help you prevent one.

Identification

1.        Check for swelling. Ruptured blood vessels cause swelling and reddening around the site of the injury. Throbbing and bruising will likely occur as blood pours into the area. Pain is the obvious indicator. Depending on the severity of the sprain, walking can range from uncomfortable to unbearable. Pain is increased as weight is applied to the sensitive area.

Types

2.       Ankle sprains are classified as three types by their severity. Type 1 sprains feature moderate tears. Walking may be limited but is still possible. Type 2 tears are severe. These sprains are debilitating and require medical attention. Type 3 tears are the most serious. One or more ligaments are completely torn and may need to be medically repaired.

Misconceptions

3.       Ankle sprains are often considered to be a minor injury that can be worked off. Some people may try to continue to use the injured ankle, but they run the risk of long-term damage. Using an injured ankle without taking proper care only prolongs the injury--and it doesn't help that your ankle bears a great deal of your body weight. Continued use of an untreated ankle can lead to chronic ankle pains or a severe break.

Prevention/Solution

4.       While there is no one answer to prevent the varied causes of ankle sprains, there are measures that you can take to avoid them. Wear shoes appropriate for the activity you'll be engaged in. Shoes should support your ankle and have good traction to prevent excessive turning of your ankle. Wrapping your ankles with athletic tape works well also. Work out your ankle. Exercising your ankle will help you prevent a sprain. Stronger ankle ligaments will help you resist sprains.

Warning

5.       Seek medical attention if your sprain is excessively swollen, unresponsive to pain relievers and immobilizing, or if the pain affects your knee, toes, calf or Achilles tendon. A doctor can check ruptures, fractures and other affected areas. At a medical center, you can receive a splint or a set of crutches to aid mobility. You can also receive prescriptions for pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation around the affected areas.


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